Often overlooked, Memorial Day gives us a chance to remember those who fight for us
The Unites States of America may be relatively young compared to others in the world; however our story is that of great reverence.
We were built by simple, common men and women who offered up their lives in exchange for a glimmer of hope that their children could live in a place where dreams reach out and touch reality in ways not thought possible.
They wanted a place where inspiration could prompt questions, questions could seek answers, and answers could change the world.
Such thought, deemed treacherous at the time have now become ours every minute of everyday. This freedom did not come easily or without cost.
Unity, in this world, is not a product of agreement, but of love.
Today, hundreds of thousands of young men and women we call our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters serve in United States Military. Many are from Santa Clarita. Millions have served before them. Some have died, others have lived with the scars both on their bodies and in their hearts.
For each soldier you will find those who love them, who are bound by blood and friendship to them, and stand behind them as they march into unknown peril.
This Memorial Day, KHTS invites everyone to take a moment to think of the incredible sacrifice that our men and women in uniform are giving every day. The toll of war is not just limited to the soldiers, but their families as well, and therefore this Memorial Day, take a moment to remember.
More than 150,000 troops serving overseas will spend Memorial Day away from their families. Cell Phones for Soldiers is calling on all Americans to show support for the troops by supporting the “Yellow Ribbon” cell phone collection drive. From May 21 through July 4, Cell Phones for Soldiers hopes to collect over 50,000 unused cell phones to help keep troops connected with the families.
“For the families and friends of soldiers serving abroad, Memorial Day is much more than a long holiday weekend,” says Brittany Bergquist, Cell Phones for Soldiers co-founder. “We’re asking Americans to make a small sacrifice of support by donating their unused cell phones, providing families with a much-needed connection to their loved ones overseas.”
Cell Phones for Soldiers is inviting Americans to support the Yellow Ribbon campaign in one of three ways:
- Existing Cell Phones for Soldiers collection sites are invited to download the Yellow Ribbon sign for display in their business
- Businesses and grassroots organizations are invited to start their own collection drive, and can visit www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com regularily for collection tips, and instructions for prepaid shipping of collected phones
- Individuals are invited to donate their cell phones to Yellow Ribbon collection sites, or by downloading a prepaid shipping label
Cell Phones for Soldiers sends the phones to Michigan-based ReCellular, which pays Cell Phones for Soldiers up to $50 for each donated phone – enough to provide twenty-five hours of calling cards to soldiers abroad. Cell Phones for Soldiers hopes to turn old cell phones into more than 12 million minutes of prepaid calling cards for U.S. troops stationed overseas in 2007.
Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded by teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist from Norwell, Mass., with $21 of their own money. Since then, the registered 501c3 non-profit organization has raised almost $1 million in donations and distributed more than 250,000 prepaid calling cards to soldiers serving overseas.
“We have been overwhelmed by the generous support of thousands of Americans who have helped our troops speak with their loved ones,” says the teens’ father, Bob Bergquist. “However the need for support keeps growing as more soldiers are sent to the Middle East or are asked to serve extended tours of duty.”
Through increased fundraising efforts, the Bergquist family hopes to raise more than $9 million in the next five years to fund new programs, such as providing video phones and prepaid service to allow soldiers abroad to see their families on a regular basis.
“Americans will replace an estimated 130 million cell phones this year,” says Mike Newman, vice president of ReCellular, “with the majority of phones either discarded or stuffed in a drawer. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that the small sacrifice of donating their unwanted phones can have a tremendous benefit for a worthy cause like Cell Phones for Soldiers.”
Approximately half of the phones ReCellular processes are reconditioned and resold to wholesale companies in over 40 countries around the world. Handsets and components that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and recycled.
In 2007, ReCellular expects to recycle 1 million pounds of scrap phones and accessories, working with recycling partners to reclaim materials, including:
- Gold, silver and platinum from circuit boards
- Copper wiring from phone chargers
- Nickel, iron, cadmium and lead from battery packs
- Plastic from phone cases and accessories
- Paper and cardboard from shipping materials used for donations